Archives for: 2008, week 49

12/13/08

Yanks - Mets Free Agent Spending Spree Begins. Sign MLB's Top Hurlers!

Permalink 02:00:00 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

New York Yankees and Mets General Manager's are all smiles after signing the top three big name free agent pitchers.

Yankees: Brian Cashman bet the house and lost big a year ago by favoring young unproven starters (Hughes/Kennedy) instead of signing one of baseball's best (Johan Santana). 2008 was to be a memorable year as Yankee Stadium hosted its' final season. Injuries and lack of starting pitching was only part of the story. The bullpen became over burdened in April. By the time August rolled around relievers were spent.

2009 will certainly be different (at least on paper heading into spring training). CC Sabathia was the most coveted free agent starting pitcher on the market. AJ Burnett was a close number two. Cashman was given a green light to do whatever it takes.

Sabathia's contract is 7 years, $161 million. Burnett was signed Friday for 5 years, $82.5 million.

Cashman reportedly is now looking to resign Andy Pettitte. Most likely for a more modest contract (plus incentives). Suddenly, the Yankees starting rotation is looking superb. Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Pettitte, Joba will give batters fits from game to game. All pitch with different styles and challenge hitters at every opportunity (a.k.a. strike throwers). No more pitching around batters leading to deep hitter's counts. All should win no less than 15. This staff can easily end up with at least 2 20 game winners.

Up next? Here's where it gets interesting for the Yanks. Rumor mill has Melky Cabrera heading to Milwaukee for super star defender CF and ex-Met Cameron. His defensive range is exactly what the Yanks need, and have been missing, in center. Mark Teixeira could be entertaining to think of but he's not in a NY state of mind. Yanks don't need to spend big bucks for hitters just yet. Get to work on another starter & relievers. The smart move is to gobble up pitching. Imagine a Kerry Wood (could be Cleveland bound) or Brian Fuentes as a setup guy for Mariano?

Many options remain for choosing free agent hitters. Manny Ramirez rumors seem to be dead for the moment. Playing coy could be a great move to drive down Manny's contract. RF is a must for this team. Plenty of options remain on the market. And a good catcher. Posada's is entering the twilight of his career so a strong signal caller with a cannon is a must. Pudge could be brought back but only if he's willing to take a major pay cut. Otherwise, there's talent to be found elsewhere. Yanks did lose out on one major offensive weapon with today's signing by Philadelphia of Ibanez.

Mets:
Mets did a great job addressing a major issue from the past two September's... bullpen. Francisco Rodriguez set a major league record in '08 with 62 Saves. Hope there's room left in his cannon arm after signing a 3 year $37 million contract last week. NY immediately followed this up by taking part in a 3 way, 12 player trade. The star of the crop for NY was Seattle's former closer JJ Putz. Putz is expected to be K-Rod's setup guy. A good move on paper but a risk considering JJ is coming off a season filled with arm problems. When healthy these two will be lights out in 8th/9th innings.

General Manager Minaya has many tough decisions to make. Snatched up free agent Sabathia, Burnett, Ibanez are gone. Mets starting rotation is not looking strong at all right now and it's probably a safe bet assuming teams with hands on cash will soon gobble up the remaining starters... quickly.

Citi Field (often referred to now as Bailout Park or Taxpayer Field) replaces Shea next year. Mets need many players to round out this roster if they plan on challenging for NL East honors. Rotation is very thin after Santana. Bullpen is thin even with JJ and KRod. Corner OF's have been weak spots for two seasons running. Mets hoping it's not three. Perhaps the lack of a true signal caller has been most damaging. Much of the blame to last season's monumental bullpen collapse has to rest on absolutely pathetic pitch selection. For most of the year pitchers were not in synch with catchers. A ton of in game battery conferences didn't seem to help. In addition to good pitch calling.. whoever they decide on must be able to keep Jimmy Rollins in check.

Minaya has thrown money around in the past at the wrong types of players. Pedro Martinez, to nobody's surprise, was a complete bust due to injuries. Moises Alou's absence by multiple injuries and lack of replacement was a tremendous void during '08. Jake Peavy talks between San Diego and Chicago broke down (for now). How about stepping it up Omar and offering some top notch talent and/or draft picks to land the best 1-2 in the game!!

The smart play for Mets of '09 will be to grab up top remaining starting pitchers, a solid catcher, and good defensive corner outfielders. A brilliant move would be to then assemble a very deep bench and bullpen. Big bucks aren't needed... only shrewd decisions. Then again... these are the Mets... and they've been known to make a bad deal here and there.

It's free agent frenzy time for MLB teams. A select few will celebrate prized gifts while some get left out in the cold. New York teams drew 1st blood with big name signings. Phillies quickly countered Mets.

Who's next?

Expect to hear a few more signings as teams intensify negotiations. Odds are New York fans will be celebrating key additions over the next several days.

12/11/08

Terrell Owens Takes Aim at Another QB

Permalink 08:00:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

Here we go again.

The Dallas Cowboys can't seem to distance themselves from controversy.
Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, Jayson Witten, Jessica Simpson....
It's the same old story when it comes to Cowboys football in December. Something always seems to stir the pot.

Terrell Owens had bit his tongue most of this season while talking with reporters. He's been baited and set up to deliver incriminating comments against fellow teammates. To his credit, at least publicly, T.O. has remained drama free.

However........

His history of taking aim at team quarterback's is nothing new. From Jeff Garcia (SF) to Donovan McNabb (Philly) and now his current signal caller, Tony Romo.

Anyone paying attention while watching Dallas games this year has noticed T.O. often yelling at teammates and coaches. He finds time (or nerve) to smile when dropping passes. Then, yells at Romo when the ball is delivered elsewhere.

Owens is a walking time bomb. It's December, and he's ready to explode.

Apparently, Owens is now miffed at Romo because Dallas QB and TE have been studying game film and improvising plays to better enable their team to win games. Owens, feels left out... and according to anonymous sources (from an article appearing on ESPN.com).. T.O. has been created a rift.

Players, coaches and fans are all tired of this guys antics. Owens is a gifted wide receiver on the football field. On the sidelines and clubhouse.. he's a disaster. It's always ME, ME, ME with this guy. Garcia wasn't throwing him the ball often enough. McNabb wasn't throwing him the ball often enough. Now, it's Romo's turn to get picked on by someone in need of psychiatric counseling.

The problem isn't with Owens not getting the ball from Romo. The untold story is evident to those watching live games.
T.O. doesn't run every play hard.
T.O. cuts off routes leading to turnovers or lost downs.
Dropped passes while showing off his pearly whites.
Screaming at teammates when annoyed on sidelines.
Talking behind teammates backs to other teammates.

It's always something with T.O. He wants to be the featured attraction.. then when he gets the attention... POOF.. his magic turns to dust.

Dallas is fighting for survival entering the final three games of 2008. According to the referenced ESPN article, some players realize they need T.O.'s talents to advance. So they're content not to rock the boat. Coach Phillips, just like Owens former coaches, seems reluctant or powerless to control this free spirited guy. That's the problem.

Take a look at successful teams with headcases. Super Bowl Champion Head Coach Coughlin is a no nonsense guy. As soon as someone steps out of line... Coughlin steps in and sets things straight. He did not allow team distraction TE Shockey on the sidelines during the Giants Super run last year. Self inflicted gun shot victim and star WR Plaxico Burress was suspended for the rest of this year. Retired Tiki Barber and a host of others have been released or admonished without a moments delay.

One of the problems in Dallas has been tolerence by team owner and coach wannabe Jerry Jones. Jones is the puppet master continuously chasing after troubled players, rewarding them with big bucks, coddling them when they do wrong... and... a basic lack of discipline (suspensions) only fuels the fire.

Dallas was picked by many to represent the NFC as Super Bowl contenders. Now, they're clinging to playoff hopes while playing subpar football. The Champs come to Dallas. Both teams coming off disappointing defeats last weekend. Romo will be under heavy pressure on and off the field. Some are calling him a choke artist based on lackluster career December passing & team records.

No single player causes late season failures.... it's a complete organizational effort (thanks in large to ignoring troubling situations).

It's time for Dallas to stop whinning and start playing.

12/10/08

NFL Week 15 Predictions.

Permalink 11:00:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

It's crunch time in the NFL. Teams fighting for playoffs have to put up or shut up. Many teams remain in contention. Here we go... Week 15:

New Orleans (7-6) @ Chicago (7-6): Loser of this one could be done for the season. Both teams on playoff bubble. Both have their ups & downs from week to week. Chicago wins... barely... 21-20.

Tampa Bay (9-4) @ Atlanta (8-5): Both coming off huge losses to division rivals. Must win for both clubs. Atlanta prevails, 24-22.

Washington (7-6) @ Cincinnati (1-11-1): Washington has gone from hot to ice cold. Their season will be over if lowly Cincy can muster up a victory. Skins survive, 17-16.

Detroit (0-13) @ Indianapolis (9-4): Detroit's record speaks for itself. Only a few games left to stay out of the record books. Indy has won 6 straight and is AFC's hottest team. Colts bully Lions, 38-13.

San Diego (5-8) @ Kansas City (2-11): Chargers ready to close out disappointing season. Chiefs rebuilding process will last for years. SD wins, 23-17.

Seattle (2-11) @ St Louis (2-11): Who cares game of the week. Rams win, 20-16.

San Francisco (5-8) @ Miami (8-5): Singletary has Niners playing smarter football. Dolphins have been one of the few positive surprises this season. Phins win, 27-14.

Buffalo (6-7) @ Jets (8-5): Bills going backwards after tremendous beginning. Jets, losers of 2 straight, win at home... 31-17.

Tennessee (12-1) @ Houston (6-7): Titans playing great offensively & defensively. Houston plays inspired football even with many players hurting all year. Titans win a close one, 27-23.

Green Bay (5-8) @ Jacksonville (4-9): It's a learning season for Pack QB Rodgers. Jacksonville needs winning lessons. Both defenses vulnerable. Pack wins, 28-20.

Minnesota (8-5) @ Arizona (8-5): Vikes Vet QB Frerotte has guided his squad to an 8-3 record after being named starter in Week 3. Cards QB Warner is challenging for the single season passing yards record. Arizona wins shootout, 38-27.

Denver (8-5) @ Carolina (10-3): Denver can officially wrap up AFC West. Carolina is one of NFL's best. Panthers win high scoring game, 36-31.

Pittsburgh (10-3) @ Baltimore (9-4): Game of the Week. Pittsburgh stunned Dallas last weekend. Ravens D 2nd only to Steelers. Both offenses will have a tough time scoring. Field position and Special Teams play huge rolls in this contest. Ravens win defensive thriller, 13-10.

New England (8-5) @ Oakland (3-10): QB Cassell's father died this week creating an uncertain QB status for Sunday. Oakland is horrible and getting worse. Pats roll, 24-10.

Giants (11-2) @ Dallas (8-5): Super Bowl Champs gearing up to repeat. Cowboys must win or season is in jeopardy. Dallas has been terrible in recent December's. Giants defense pressures Romo all game long. Champs win, 34-20.

Cleveland (4-9) @ Philadelphia (7-5-1): QB problems continue for battered Browns. Eagles looking sharp lately after mid-season stumble. Philly leaves Browns black & blue, 27-3.

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